There’s a lot required of Christmas breakfast – it needs to be special, celebratory, easy (or at least do-ahead), appealing to kids and adults, and not too filling, since there are treats and dinner just ahead. That’s a tall order for a morning meal. My solution is to always go simple, seasonal and comforting. We have steaming café au lait bowls of hot chocolate topped with cream, a compote dish filled with citrus segments – blood oranges, navel oranges, oro blanco and ruby grapefruit – along with super-crisp bacon, and either French toast or scones, both of which can be prepared ahead of time.
For French toast, simply soak the bread in the custard overnight and it will be ready to sauté to golden crispness in the morning. I like to include cardamom, cinnamon, and a splash of Grand Marnier in the custard. Scones can be prepared even further in advance, so there’s nothing to do the night before. Several days (or weeks) ahead, make the scone dough, cut it into portions, freeze until firm, then transfer into a ziptop freezer bag until Christmas morning. Once the bacon is done, turn the oven up and, as you warm the hot chocolate, bake the scones (yep, straight from the freezer to the oven, adding a couple of minutes to the baking time). Or if you don’t want to get that far ahead, simply make the dough the night before, cut it, and arrange for baking on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until morning.
There are plenty of delicious scone ideas, but the most outrageously over-the-top one I can think of is Chocolate Toffee Scones. Moist and tender and bursting with mini chocolate chips and toffee chips, then topped with even more toffee chips that melt into a crisp crust of caramel-y goodness, these are a special occasion treat. Just the sort of thing for Christmas morning. If you want to be just a bit more restrained, try the Buttermilk Scones with Dried Cherries and Orange, which are deceptively simple yet incredibly addictive. Both of these recipes have converted scone haters – “they’re so dry and dense” – into scone addicts – “Oh wow, this is how scones are supposed to taste!” Comforting, easy, and delicious – either one is pretty much the perfect start for a warm and wonderful Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and yours.More A Taste of Tradition ideas and recipes follow after the jump